Sunday, November 11, 2007

Famous Last Words- Round 1, Week 7

For many purists, the only true Zatoichi was Shintaro Katsu, who portrayed the legendary warrior in over two dozen films and a television series. So when Takeshi Kitano decided to revisit the character, there were quite a few who denounced the film sight unseen. However, Kitano's Zatoichi (released in the U.S. as The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi and the source of last week's quiz) is a blast in its own right. Kitano's take on the character is a far cry from Katsu's lovable clown, with the eternal badass playing him with brutal efficiency. But while the original Zatoichi movies were merely above-average entertainment, Kitano's direction makes his film a work of art as well, with CGI blood that's both fake-looking and aesthetically gorgeous, and an affecting supporting performance by Tadanobu Asano as a sad-eyed ronin who joins up with gangsters purely for financial reasons. And in the final reel, it turns into a musical, complete with extended foot-stomping dance numbers, much to the chagrin of at least one of last week's contestants. Zatoichi didn't make much of a dent at the U.S. box office, but it was a hit with festival crowds, taking home the audience awards at both Venice and Toronto- in the latter case, surely the oddest film to win the award since Nicolas Roeg's Bad Timing in 1980.

Well, we're halfway through Round 1, and I'd say it's gone well thusfar. A handful of people are ahead of the pack, but there's still six weeks to go, plenty of time for the rest of you to catch up. So if you're just joining us or even if you're lagging behind the leaders, you could still potentially win. Even if you're not sure, don't be afraid to guess. Don't cost nothin'.

Now for this week's quote:

“Well, everybody is somebody’s fool. The only way to stay out of trouble is to grow old, so I guess I’ll concentrate on that. Maybe I’ll live so long that I’ll forget her. Maybe I’ll die trying.”

Sound familiar? Name the movie. E-Mail your answers to this e-Mail address by 11:59 pm Saturday. See you next Sunday.